Saturday, 27 July 2013

Cadzand 1944

This was the next game at Colins and to save him from having to do any work changing the gaming table due to his gammy leg we decided to just use the same layout as the Plucky Belgian game only this time it would be the Germans commanded by Ray doing the defending and the Allies in the form of Free French commanded by me doing the attacking. Gammy legged Colin did the umpiring again.

German ambush positions

Elements of German 15th army are defending the Scheldt and stopping shipping getting up the river to unload vital supplies at Antwerp. The Allies have planned an amphibious operation to take the Walcheren islands and to aid the landings there elements of the Free French 1st Armoured Division have been ordered to take the coastal artillery position at Cadzand. As usual the figures are 28mm, the terrain and Germans are all from Colin’s collection and the majority of the French are from my collection and we used Bolt Action rules for the game.

HQ Captain, 3 men + medic, veteran
3 x 10 regular infantry inc; smg and lmg
1 x regular Medium mortar
1 x regular Mmg
2 x regular AT teams - Pzschreck
1 x regular AT gun PAK 40
1 x Panther tank, Super heavy AT
1 x Jagdpanther, Super heavy AT
1 x Marder III, Heavy AT
1 x Sdkfz 7 Flak, 4xLight Auto cannon
Free French
HQ Captain, 3 men + medic, in M20 command car, veteran
1 x FOO in Utility van, can call in artillery strike
1 x 10 Veteran Moroccan Tiraileurs, inc; smg and lmg, in M3 half track
2 x 10 regular Moroccan Tiraileurs, inc; smg and lmg, in M3 half track
1 x regular Mmg
1 x regular Mortar, both in M3 half track
A troop 4th Cuirassiers (inexperienced)
3 x Shermans, Medium AT
1 x M10 tank destroyer, Heavy AT
B troop 4th Cuirassiers (inexperienced)
3 x Shermans, Medium AT
1 x M10 tank destroyer, Heavy AT

The battle started well for the French which advanced in mixed combat groups with infantry supporting the armour and quickly uncovered the first two German ambush units marked at 1 and 2  and the infantry took out the two Pzschreck units without any loss to themselves, but that was as good as it got. 
The Marder soon opened up and took out one of the M10's but was in turn taken out by a Sherman and as the advancing combat groups advanced through the woods to their front the other German units in ambush opened up and on after another Sherman ended up as blazing hulks and the supporting infantry were also taking a bit of a pasting.
For once the supporting artillery actually landed where it was intended but unfortunately didn’t cause many casualties and only a few pins but it did give the remaining French another chance to advance but every shot from my Shermans failed to hit a single German tank which wasn’t surprising since I was needing double 6’s to hit the dug in armour, my luck from the previous two games had obviously run out. The German ambush points 3, 4, 5 and 6 were eventually overrun but this was the high tide of the French attack and with only 1 Sherman, an M10 and very few infantry left they were forced to fall back.
French armoured grave yard

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Plucky Belgians

This was another game we had along at Colins which was fought between myself as the Plucky Belgians and Mr Ray as the nasty Nazis, poor Colin is in crutches from a gardening accident so sat at the end of the table and umpired. The game was fought with 28mm figures using Bolt Action rules. All the figures and terrain was supplied by Colin.
The general scenario was that the Germans were to advance along the road and destroy the large naval defence gun which is set in a military compound which would then allow German reinforcements to arrive by sea.
Coastal field gun made by a company called Astra

German orbat
HQ, captain +2 men + medic + FOO
3 x 10 man Regular infantry sections inc. Smg and Lmg in Opel Blitz trucks.
1 x Regular Mmg
1 x Regular Med mortar
1 x Regular Med A/T gun
3 x Pz 38t tanks with armour 8, Medium A/T gun and Mmg
1 x Sdkfz222 Armoured car
1 x Kfz 13 Scout car
Belgian orbat
HQ, captain + 2 men
8 x Veteran Chasseurs d’Ardennes inc. Smg and BAR
Chasseurs d’Ardennes Veteran Med A/T gun and 3 crew
Chasseurs d’Ardennes Veteran A/T rifle and 2 crew
9 x Regular Belgian infantry inc. Smg and BAR
9 x Inexperienced Belgian infantry inc. Smg and BAR
1 x Regular Mmg
1 x Regular Light Howitzer
2 x T15 Tankettes armour 7, Mmg
1 x British 40mm Oerlikon A/A gun

Despite having all these troops the Belgian infantry never even got into action, only the A/T weapons, the Light Howitzer and the two Tankettes were actually used the rest were in defensive positions in the town.
The Germans started the battle by racing up the road and promptly spotted the A/T rifle crew at ambush position 1 and reversed back down the road before a shot could be fired at it then they brought on their scout car and sent it into the fields on their right and started spotting for the enemy. On move 2 the German A/C decided to swing round to the left behind the church and promptly ran into the T15’s in ambush at position 3. It fell back from fire from the first tank but was still in range from the second one which promptly pinned it.
The Germans then decided to bring on their big guns and two of the 38t’s advanced up the road and tried to take out the A/T rifle without any luck so in turn 3 they advanced to close range and promptly ran into ambush 2 which hit the lead tank and knocked it out but the second one managed to pin the A/T rifle but no casualties. The rest of the move was taken up with the Germans bringing on their lorry borne infantry.
The Belgians keep getting run of the movement dice and promptly launched their Tankettes against the unsupported trucks and pinned A/C causing further hits and chaos and the light howitzer at the red dot behind ambush 4 joined in the fun and the Plucky Belgians turned into lucky Belgians as virtually every round they fired landed on target.
The Germans eventually managed to get their other 38t on to protect their trucks and knocked out one of the Tankettes as the other one still advanced causing panic all along the German line. By this time the other 38t had also been knocked out alongside the lead tank and things were starting to look difficult for the Germans until a good run of the movement dice allowed them to race some of their lorry borne infantry up to the area of their knocked out tanks then called in the Luftwaffe to take out the ambushing Belgian A/T guns. In virtually every game we have played using Bolt Action air and artillery support has been a disaster and this wasn’t going to be different as Ray rolled a 1 which then allowed me to redirect the air assault right on top of his debussed infantry causing multiple pins and casualties and the rest being destroyed by the light howitzer.
With the German attack having ground to a halt Colin felt sorry for them and gave them a Panzer IV as reinforcements but by the time it had gotten up to the area of fighting the Belgian A/T rifle crew had rallied off all their pin markers and had advanced into the ruined church and sent round after round into the new tank which then failed every command test to get them off.
At this point the Germans realised this wasn’t going to be their night and gave up the attack without even meeting the main defence line.  The rules had worked really well except that we forgot a couple of points, single crew turret tanks have to take a test to advance every move and vehicles that fail their rally tests fall back but the way we had both been rolling dice i doubt it would have made much difference to the outcome.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Mr Hitler takes a ride

Our friend Bill Miller was back up from London and Mr Ray was back from the States last week so we had a get together for an interesting and unusual WW2 game at Colin Jack's, but anyone who knows Colin would realise that unusual is normal for most of his games.  Bill and Ray took the German role while Colin and myself were the Poles. We used Bolt Action rules for the game and Colin supplied all the terrain, 28mm figures and vehicles.

German briefing
It is September 1939 and the war has been going well for the Germans and Adolf Hitler is flying to Warsaw to take part in victory celebrations, unfortunately his plane has developed engine trouble and has had to make an unscheduled landing in an airfield outside of the Polish capital so the rest of the journey will have to be made by road.
Apart from the Fuhrer there are also two important staff officers
who will also have to be transported safely

To escort the VIP's you have an SS squad of 6 riflemen and the driver of the staff car also has an smg. The commander of the airfield has also sent an escort of a squad of Luftwaffe troops, an officer and 6 men armed with rifles or smg's. For transport you have the staff car already mentioned as well as a Kubel Wagon and truck for the Luftwaffe infantry. The crew of the downed plane can also act as a reserve if needed and are armed with pistols and an Lmg.

Polish briefing
It is September 1939 and the war has been going well for the Germans and the Polish army is all but destroyed and you and a group of 6 soldiers have been separated from your unit during the retreat and have been sheltered by some local villagers.  Word has reached you that a German plane has been forced to land at the nearby airfield and that a convoy is being set up so perhaps someone important is on board and this could be your last chance to do something for your country before the war ends. The local villagers are also keen to help so the village elder and 6 men have volunteered, it's just a pity that they have no military training so not much can be expected of them.

Victory conditions
The Germans get 1vp for every Polish village taken out and 1vps for every Polish regular and 5vps for every staff officer you get off table.
The Poles get 1vp for every Luftwaffe person taken out, 2vps for every SS man and 5vps for every staff officer. If they kill Hitler they will win the game whatever the other outcome is.

The game
The Poles started in ambush anywhere they wanted as long as they were more than 12" away from the airfield and we weren't sure if the Germans would just stick to the road for the extra speed bonus or go across country. As commander of the Polish troops I took the regulars and set up ambush 1 in the large ditch alongside the road which covered the road as well as the gap opposite and the open ground behind should the Germans try to sneak off that way. Knowing of the poor quality of the villagers I set them up as a last resort in the village at ambush 2. Knowing Bill I guessed he would hide Hitler away in another vehicle instead of the staff car and probably disguise him as an ordinary soldier even though I doubt Hitler would ever have agreed to that in real life.

The game started with the German truck moving out of the airfield and down the road followed by the two Polish ambushers passing on their move, then next came the Kubel wagon and the end of turn followed so the staff car was still in the airfield. Move two saw the truck move gingerly down the road but still no ambush followed and the staff car joined at the back of the queue and the end of turn.
At the start of turn three Ray was starting to get a bit jittery especially when he kept getting asked to test and failing to see if he could spot any Poles, so he promptly debussed his men and slowly crept down the road. Bill commanding the other two vehicles made sure he kept well back allowing Ray to trigger any ambushers but still no fire came. By move four the German truck was about to enter the village so Colin opened up with his men but failed to hit anything and it was at this point that the Kubel wagon turned off road to the left so my ambushers let them have it.
Not only did my fire bring the vehicle to a halt with a shot to bits engine I also hit one of the passengers who had more than one wound, was this Hitler?
The SS also got out of the following staff car and also ran into a hail of lead losing two of their number and the driver pinned in the car unable to use his smg. It was around this time that Bill started cursing my dice rolling as it is normally rubbish but this night I wasn't rolling anything less than a 5 or 6 for shooting. I just know it will all go horribly wrong in the next game.
In the next few moves my riflemen joined Colin in shooting up the Luftwaffe while my BAR gunner kept hitting the Kubel wagon and my officer dealt with the SS himself.
The remaining troops from the wrecked car fled from the scene so it was obvious that it wasn't Hitler in there but I was determined to take him out as the others were too far away and behind cover to get a shot. Perhaps one of them was Mr H? all would be revealed at the end of the game.
Back in the village the Luftwaffe were coming of the worst being caught in a crossfire so the officer and driver in the truck decided to leg it leaving his men to their fate, that is until Colin's men shot the driver leader ran out and lobbed a Molotov cocktail at the truck and destroyed it. For the next couple of moves Colin's and the Luftwaffe leader had a ding dong fist fight going on which neither seemed to be able to win and as Bill's remaining figures crept off the table we called an end to the game and to discover the fate of Hitler.

The German shooting was horrendous in this game and they only took out 1 Polish regular and 3 villagers and got one staff officer off the table scoring 10 points. The Poles on the other hand because of my great dice rolling took out 5 SS men 5 Luftwaffe men and a staff officer scoring 20 points.

What of Hitler I hear you ask! Bill being devious as ever decided not to even risk the Fuhrer's life and left him back at the airfield, he argued unconvincingly that all his men had just been sent off to get more reinforcements to escort their leader safely to Warsaw which wasn't the idea of the scenario so the Poles were awarded an overwhelming victory.